Grantmaking Programs

Grantmaking PhilosophyFor More Information

Rose Foundation’s grantmaking programs are organized into a series of discrete funds. Each fund has a specific mission, and each fund may also have a specific geographic scope. Most funds are guided by a volunteer funding board whose members donate their time and expertise in guiding overall grantmaking strategy and individual grants decisions. Here is an overview of our various grantmaking programs and the different mechanisms that enable them.

Grantmaking Programs

Grantmaking Initiatives with Restitution & Cy Pres Funds

Many of Rose’s grantmaking funds are enabled by cy pres or restitution funds awarded by the courts. Rose Foundation’s unique role as a bridge between philanthropy and the community has been recognized by state and federal courts, which have appointed the Foundation as trustee over 700 restitution and cy pres funds related to consumer and environmental issues.  Through this program, the Foundation has been entrusted with $60 million in cy pres and restitution funds and has been named as recipient of additional pending awards.

Pooled Grantmaking

Other funds have been established in partnership with colleague foundations that recognize Rose’s capacity to act as a bridge between the world of philanthropy and the world of activism such as the California Environmental Grassroots Fund.

The California Environmental Grassroots Fund is a pooled fund supported by about 20 funding partners. In addition to being one of the funding partners, Rose Foundation serves as the Grassroots Fund’s host and trustee. Guided by a board of community activists and veteran funders, the Fund’s mission is to bridge a significant gap between grassroots environmental groups and the traditional funding patterns of organized philanthropy by awarding small grants ($5,000 or less) to small organizations that are underserved by most foundations’ funding strategies. Building the capacity and “people power” of small grassroots groups is an essential step towards greater environmental health and sustainability. Click here to learn more about the Grassroots Fund and how to become a Funding Partner.

Donor Advised Grantmaking

A donor advised fund is a philanthropic partnership between the Rose Foundation and the donor.  Donor advised funds allow individual and corporate donors to take advantage of Rose’s administrative capacity, community orientation, and individualized approach to efficiently direct charitable dollars towards cutting edge conservation and social justice environmental protection projects, and other charitable endeavors that are near to the donor’s heart.

Fiscal Sponsorship Grantmaking

Rose is an incubator for fresh ideas and emerging projects. Though fiscal sponsorship and across the entire spectrum of our grantmaking programs, we find and nurture community-based energy, fresh ideas, and new alliances to help protect our fragile and shrinking planet. Through its fiscal sponsorship program, Rose helps emerging projects incubate and launch as new non-profit organizations, and also provides projects that are temporary in nature with structure and a charitable home.

Many of these projects are catalyzed by volunteer activists or neighborhood organizations, and are too small or too new to have their charitable status recognized by the IRS. Temporary projects may also be good candidates for fiscal sponsorship, because this allows the project to focus on achieving its program objectives rather than diverting scarce community resources to project administration and incorporation of a nonprofit organization.


To learn more about our grantmaking programs, including how to award Rose Foundation a legal setttlement, how to become a Funding Partner of the Grassroots Fund, or how to open a Donor Advised Fund, please contact:

Tim Little, Executive Director
Email: tlittle[AT] (please replace AT with @)

Grantmaking Philosophy

Rose Foundation is dedicated to the principle that environmental stewardship, community regeneration, consumer protection, robust civic participation and a healthy economy are all inextricably linked. As a society, we cannot expect to a­chieve last­ing econom­ic progress at the expense of the environment, worker, or community rights. Similarly, lasting environmental, consumer, and community protections must also be grounded in economic reality. Civic participation, especially by traditionally disempowered communities, often serves as the necessary catalyst. Alliances between traditionally diverse interests provides a fundamental and lasting glue that binds long-term sustainable solutions.

Since the Foundation does not have an endowment, grant awards are primarily enabled by contributions from businesses, individuals and other foundations. The majority of these contributions are directed by the particular funding source towards specific geographic and/or issue areas. Therefore, Rose Foundation’s funding priorities may change­ from time to time, based on the availability of grantmaking funds and the specific restrictions placed on those funds by the contributor.

Within these parameters, Rose applies the following overarching philosophy to its grantmaking programs:

  • Time is short. Earth’s clock is ticking, so we must act quickly to respond to global warming, ecosystem damage, and toxic body burden borne by most living creatures. Applicants must embrace bold and aggressive solutions.
  • The community holds the key. People need to be involved in decision-making that affects themselves and their communities, and community members need to be involved in implementing solutions. Projects that build community involvement will generally receive preference.
  • Everyone is an environmentalist. While people can, and do, strongly disagree about specific issues and/or solutions, at heart, most people feel a connection with nature and want to leave a better world for their children. Applicants need to offer practical solutions that allow diverse interests, cultures, and communities to find common ground to build win-win solutions.
  • Money matters. Solutions to today’s pressing problems will not last if they do not lead us toward tomorrow’s economy. Whenever possible, projects must consider ways to leverage market forces towards sustainability.


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